Qoyawayma, Al – Water Jar with Three Corn Design (1982)
This jar by Al Qoyawayma is from 1982. It is a thin-walled, coil-built water jar. There is a wide shoulder and a turned-out rim. The jar is fully polished in a vertical manner, which is often referred to as an “onion skin” polish. There are three ears of corn on the shoulder of the jar. They are in “reppousse” or pushed out from the inside, NOT applique. This is very much in the style of his aunt, Elizabeth White. Each of the ears of corn is textured to represent the kernels. The contrast of the matte and polished surfaces works to enhance the design and form. Each ear of corn is the same matte coloration, but in the photos, the shadows make them appear lighter and darker. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Al Qoyawyama”.
“The earliest corn motif is found on pottery in Ecuador dating to 1900 BC. The technique was to push out from the inside of the pottery the basic form of the corn ear shape and then sculpt the kernel decoration or relief. Al and Elizabeth White (his aunt) saw an exhibit of “Ancient Ecuador, CUlture, clay, and creativity” at the Field Museum in Chicago in 1975. They realized that they were creating a similar technique at Hopi. Elizabeth began using this motif in the early 1960s. The corn motif is used in sacred respect of the corn in sustaining Native Americans over at least the last several thousand years.” Al Qoywayama, Hopi Potter, 1984